In May this year, the German Federal Cabinet approved the simplified shooting of wolves. Now, wolves can be killed with official approval, if there are damages or when damage will occur. The killing can be carried out until there is no damage from wolves anymore. But there are temporal and spatial limitations to the killing.
Please also read: Wolfpacks manage disease outbreaks
Actions for protection
However, the countries that have been living with the wolf for a long time are more relaxed than Germany on that thematic. For example, in the Carpathian Mountains, including Romania. Experts estimate that there are about 4 000 wolves currently living there, in Germany the number is estimated to be around 400. Additionally, wandering shepherds moving with their herds from place to place are much more common. So it might look like they are predestined to wolf attacks. Yet the shepherds don’t have an excessive fear of the wolf.
Furthermore, the shepherds also did a lot to protect the sheep. For that, they turn on the lights at night, light fires and make noise. They also protect the herds with livestock guardian dogs. In Romania those dogs are the safest method to protect the sheep from wolf attacks. Therefore, the ratio dog to sheep is important. This depends on the type of terrain, but in some regions of Europe, shepherds use at least two livestock guarding dogs, plus an additional dog for each 100 animals in their herd. The livestock guarding dogs require food on a daily basis, which can for example be food left-overs or dog food. In countries such as Switzerland, the dog food is often the most expensive part of having a livestock guarding dog.
Important for ecosystems
Wolves search for prey that is typically weak and sick, so they have a special and crucial role in the ecosystem. With that selection, they effectively keep populations healthy. In the Western Romanian community Farliug, wildlife animals grew enormously, but now wolf now keeps the number of them in balance. Thus, wolves contribute to a good balance in nature and are important for the entire system.
The major of Farliug, a hunter, agrees to the statements above and therefore is against hunting the wolf. Also two of the shepherds have come to terms with the wolf. Indeed, the damages the wolves cause in this community are very low. Per year, 10 to 12 sheep are killed from around 14 000 sheep in the local community. The shepherds regard this as tolerable, as they receive compensation according to the local rules. Unfortunately, there are still many cases where wolves are illegally killed by hunters, despite its protected status in the EU. This results in a continuous disruption of wolf pack structures, which keeps the number of depredation incidents at higher levels. It is therefore better to implement effective livestock protection measures instead of killing wolves.
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